What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?
There is no publicly available government data on child marriage in Palau.
Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?
Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are somehow inferior to men and boys.
There is very limited information on child marriage in Palau.
What has this country committed to?
Palau has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Palau acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1995, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18. It signed, but has not yet ratified, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 2011, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.
During its 2018 review, the UN Child Rights Committee expressed serious concern that the legal minimum age of marriage is still set at 16 for girls in Palau. It recommended the government raise this to 18 in line with international standards.
During Palau’s 2016 Universal Periodic Review, the government announced pending legislation to equalise the legal minimum age of marriage to 18 years for girls and boys.
What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?
Under the National Code 1986 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. In relation to non-citizens a girl aged 16-18 years may be married with parental consent. However, the legislation does not provide a minimum age of marriage for girls or boys in the case of marriage between two citizens.
UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Palau, 2018, p.3, (accessed May 2018)
UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Palau, 2016, p.5, (accessed May 2018)
United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, (accessed February 2018)
* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)